Mysterious Causes of Epidemic Proportions
Don’t talk, laugh, cry, sing, chew gum, or eat any chewy food or candy, and don’t grind your teeth, or clench your jaw. Take it easy and stay away from stress.
This was the advice one of my well-intentioned friends offered when I told them of my TMJ disorders. Well, do you think she could have covered any other human action — like maybe breathing?
If you’re like I was, and are experiencing the pain of temporomandibular jaw disorders, then you already know just how intense it can be. You’re also well aware that this painful condition can not only disrupt your daily life, but it can wreak havoc with your sleep as well.
Waking or sleeping (or just trying to!), you carry with you the constant ache of TMJ Disorders. If you’re experiencing the pain just in your jaw, believe it or not, you’re one of the “lucky” ones with TMJ. Don’t think so? Well, read on.
There are thousands of people in the United States alone who live with undiagnosed TMJ disorders. Their aches and pains aren’t reflected in the jaw. Instead, they complain of unexplained headaches, backaches, difficulty swallowing, and/ or an uncomfortable or uneven bite. In some cases, these individuals visit doctor after doctor only to be told that nothing is wrong.
Consider this staggering statistic for a moment: The average individual with a TMJ disorder visits a minimum of seven specialists before receiving an accurate diagnosis. Some individuals need to visit 13 professionals before uncovering the problem. In fact, one of those who had to see that many doctors was the well-known actor Burt Reynolds.
The News Only Gets Worse
What exactly is a temporomandibular and how do you know when it’s “out of order”? That’s what this book is about to tell you. It’s as if there are hidden, mysterious causes of this health concern lying in wait for you, ready to ambush your good health at any second. One wrong move — a backpack that’s too heavy, too much clenching of the teeth, poor posture — and TMJ disorder will pounce on you as fast as a cheetah pouncing on a gazelle.
But that’s really only half the story. You’ve no doubt heard the phrase, “I’ve got good news and bad news. Which do you want first?” When it comes to the prevalence, treatment and diagnosis of TMJ disorders there’s a slightly different slant to the question: “I’ve got bad news and worse news. Which do you want first?”
I’ve just given you the bad news. Now comes the worse news. So far, I’m only talking about individuals who have been able to receive an accurate diagnosis. These are the lucky few who know what they’re dealing with. What about the others — maybe yourself, your spouse or your child — who deal with pain every day and haven’t been diagnosed yet? How many individuals are we talking about now?
A recent study, published in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine said that between 40 and 75 percent of all adults have at least one symptom of a TMJ disorder.
Is it possible that the incidents of this apparently burgeoning health problem are actually far more widespread than what these first few statistics convey?
You call it a simple tension headache. But your spouse says you grind your teeth at night. “It’s nothing,” you admonish him. “Been tense at work lately. A couple of deadlines coming up. Important ones.”
It starts out innocently enough. The symptoms certainly are subtle enough — and that’s the deceptive power of TMJ disorders. Could your seemingly unrelated health problems be due to something as simple as your posture or your heavy purse burdening your shoulder?
Indeed, it’s possible. As a person who has suffered for years with this, at times intense, pain, I know exactly how you feel. I visited doctor after doctor, specialist after specialist, only to be told that there was nothing wrong. At least nothing the conventionally trained medical professionals could find.